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Mukherjee, S.; Groves, C.
Geographic variation in jungle cat (_Felis chaus_ Schreber, 1777) (Mammalia, Carnivora, Felidae) body size: is competition responsible?
2007  Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (92): 163-172

There is a striking difference in body size of jungle cats (_Felis chaus_) in the west and the east of their distribution, with Israeli cats being 43% heavier than Indian cats. We tested the hypothesis that increasing competition from other small felids towards the east is responsible for the difference in body size. We measured jungle cat skulls for eight cranial and dental variables and related these to independent variables such as species richness (local and regional), latitude, longitude, temperature, and precipitation. Data from a narrow band between latitudes 24.0øN and 33.9øN, where Bergmann's rule was largely not observed, showed that the western population ( 50.0øE longitude) of jungle cats is larger than the eastern (> 60.0øE longitude) population with the size difference being most evident in the upper carnassials (P4L). Species richness at the regional level showed a significant negative relation to P4L. An even spacing in condylobasal length for a small-cat guild from India through null model analysis indicated the occurrence of character displacement. The results support the hypothesis that competition is responsible for geographical variation in jungle cat body size in the region where Bergmann's rule does not apply.

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